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SBIR Phase II:Cellulose Based Material Innovations for an Ocean Compostable, Fish Friendly, Plastic Packaging Replacement Platform Technology

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2151692
Agency Tracking Number: 2151692
Amount: $986,583.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: CT
Solicitation Number: NSF 21-565
Solicitation Year: 2021
Award Year: 2023
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2023-07-15
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2025-06-30
Small Business Information
42 Mill St
Orono, ME 04473
United States
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: Yes
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Ariadne Dimoula
 (207) 307-9393
Business Contact
 Ariadne Dimoula
Phone: (207) 307-9393
Research Institution

The broader impact/commercial potential of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project is the design of products that will decompose in nature, are paper-stream recyclable, and Ocean Compostable Fish Friendly (OCFF), with a cost similar to plastic packaging.Since 2018, the US typically recycles between 5-8.7% of its plastic. According to Ocean Conservancy, “Every year, 11 million metric tons of plastics enter the ocean on top of the estimated 200 million metric tons that currently circulate the marine environments.” The proposed products do not need biocides and use no additives in their production process.The products are made with 100% Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified tree cellulose, which ensures that the product will come from sustainably harvested trees. These products will drastically reduce plastic waste while bringing jobs back to rural areas in need of economic development. The products are non-toxic and will compost anywhere and everywhere. _x000D__x000D_
This SBIR Phase II project continues the prototype development of novel products and the commercialization of a new molding and drying technology/techniques required to produce Ocean Compostable Fish Friendly packaging that is durable, functional, and digestible in nature. This product is expected to be adopted by the growing number of consumers who want environmentally-safe, single-use packaging products. This product replaces single-use plastics and other bioplastics. It is naturally grease resistant and will replace perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), which are being banned nationwide due to their harmful effects on human health. Leading Polylactic Acid (PLA) compostable packaging products are not compostable in nature and contaminate recycling streams. These products will have a material that feels and costs similar to plastic, is greaseproof, and is not harmful to nature and wildlife if littered. The initial product is a soufflé cup comprised of 100% fibrillated cellulose (FC) from trees, a material not yet developed for packaging on a commercial scale. Phase I results included a patent-pending benchtop system that dewaters and molds the FC into desired shapes. The goal of this project is to scale the machine to mold 100% FC into products that customers desire._x000D_
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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